Climate crisis demands deep, systemic, transformative change. We are all needed to work for change, as individuals, as communities, as nations, and as a planet. The Jewish Climate Action Network is here to help the Jewish community work together.

JCAN works with area synagogues and Jewish organizations to radically reduce their carbon footprints . Our aim is appropriately high: to achieve incremental reductions of 60% to 80% over the next few years.

“Impossible!” you may say. But it is within our reach, and we must all ultimately aim this high in order to bring about the reductions needed to sustain our planet.

To help individuals and congregations, JCAN has launched its Holistic Bentshmarking Campaign, designed to re-envision Massachusetts's Jewish institutions. This campaign can help your congregation determine the climate impact of its energy consumption, food and waste stream, and finances, and to examine its level of advocacy. The age of climate crisis demands deep, systemic, transformative change. We are all needed to work for change as individuals, as communities, as nations, and as a planet. JCAN helps the Jewish community work together.

Each synagogue starts with a commitment to benchmark: to establish a baseline of energy usage and portfolio. Benchmarking energy consumption is nothing more than figuring out the current use of energy: oil, natural gas, propane, and electricity.

Benchmark: to establish a baseline, of energy usage (carbon footprint) and portfolio, as the basis for planning and carrying out subsequent improvements in energy conservation, renewables, reinvestment [בענטשן bentshen, Yiddish: to bless, as in "may this campaign be bentshed"]

A synagogue's carbon footprint can be compared internally from one year to the next, as well as externally against averages in other houses of worship.

Calculating a baseline will reveal low-cost and no-cost reductions. However, it also will frame the critical next, step: devising a serious plan for multi-year modifications to produce deep reductions.

What's required to sign on to the JCAN 5776 Bentshmarking Campaign?

Not much! The actual task of benchmarking is straightforward -- it takes only a few hours of someone's time with a spreadsheet and access to one year's worth of utility bills.

Enrolling in JCAN's 5776 Bentshmarking Campaign signals that your synagogue or institution will determine its current carbon footprint and energy use. There is no cost or further obligation.

For most - and we hope all - synagogues, benchmarking will lead to further commitments to plan and implement significant reductions in energy usage, with support from JCAN.

Some congregations have already begun to make energy improvements. But all can learn from each other, so sharing information will be a key component of this work. To facilitate this communication, all participating institutions are invited to send a representative to JCAN leadership meetings.

To enroll, fill out this form, or just email your contact info along with your institution's name and city to jewishclimateaction@gmail.com. And then...continue below the form for directions. JCAN will also respond with help and resources.

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